Monday, October 31, 2011

Open Studio

IMG_1906The weekend before last I participated in a local Studio Tour. It was really amazing to see how much space I have in my studio, once I got it all cleaned  up! I was also amazed at how many tapestries I have…..that’s a bit depressing actually.

Dealy Morning Glories I own a large painting by Ruth Dealy, which I bought when preschoolers were pals about 25 years ago. It’s 61 x 86 inches, and the only wall in our current house that’s big enough is in my weaving room, or so I thought.

I didn’t want someone else’s art on display for the Studio Tour, so I moved it into the dining room, temporarily. Here it is between the wall and a drop leaf table. I realized then that I could hang my largest tapestry in its place.

Luckily, with my handy measuring tape, I discovered another wall that is big enough for the painting; it’s in the guest room, so I’ll have to go lie on the bed and meditate on the painting, which covers an entire wall. One thing I love about this painting is that I will never get bored with it, there is so much to look at.

Weaver's Palette I finally accepted that I will never have time to frame all the small tapestries, so I pinned a bunch of them to a  piece of painted sound board, then put it on my easel.

Visitors could see my framing process, as I had 3 tapestries in various stages of framing, including this one (“Weaver’s Palette”) pinned to its frame, with the curved upholstery needle threaded, ready to sew.

I had 2 small tapestries professionally framed, so folks could see how nice that looks.

IMG_1910 The folks at Finishing Touches are very good with framing textiles, so I kept a pile of their business cards on the piano, next to the 2 tapestries they framed. By the way, a piano makes a lovely display case!

IMG_1915 I was delighted to sell two tapestries, “Winter Forsythia,” (right) and “Cranberry Bog.” (Below). It was great to send them out into the world.

“Cranberry Bog” is the one that I wove for the Australian exhibit, “LAND.” It’s only 4 inches tall, and is based on a photo I took from my husband’s small airplane, of a Cape Cod Cranberry Bog in March.

I figured they wouldn’t have too many other cranberry bogs in the exhibit. It’s always nice to be unique.Cranberry Bog2This was my first year, but other artists say the numbers were down from last year, and that people bought less and smaller, less expensive items. That’s no surprise with these economic conditions.

It’s not just about sales.The best thing about the studio tour was talking to all the visitors, and explaining what I do.

One artist said she sold a painting to a customer who had visited the year before, fell in love with the painting and finally bought it this year. Others said this event is the best advertising, and I believe it. I made a lot of good connections, got a list of people interested in taking classes, and enjoyed demonstrating tapestry weaving.

secretmessageblog I had about 25 visitors on Saturday and 40 on Sunday. Some were friends, co-workers, fellow weavers, and neighbors. Most were strangers, but all were very interested in learning about tapestry.

I consider it my mission to educate the public about tapestry weaving, so we won’t have to read any more newspaper articles about the dead art of tapestry. (I guess they don’t know about the 500 members of the American Tapestry Alliance!)Weaving Room

The black and white tapestry that is on my vertical Glimakra loom in the above photo, had 7 inches left to weave after the studio tour. I wanted to enter it in a juried show with a deadline of Monday, October 31. Today.

I had planned to work on it the week before the tour, but it was more work than I expected, cleaning up the studio and hanging tapestries everywhere.

IMG_1933 I figured out that if I could weave one inch per day it would be finished in time. It’s only 24” wide, but I do a lot of picky stuff, like twisting my black and white blended wefts to line up every spot exactly where I want it, at exactly the right angle.That takes a lot of time.

Then I missed 2 days of weaving because life happened. I was determined to finish it, and in the end, I wove through the night, finishing at 5.30 this morning. Luckily I am a night owl, and never felt sleepy.  Yay! I did it!

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